Extremists or Believers?: Religious Salience, Literalness, Attribution Styles and Attitudes Toward the Death Penalty: An Empirical Examination of Main and Moderating Effects

Monica L.P. Robbers, Marymount University
Sonya A. Lowenthal, Marymount University

This study examines the relationships between religious salience, religious literalness, attribution styles and attitudes toward the death penalty. We also examine the moderating effects that religion has on the relationship between attribution and attitudes toward the death penalty. Control variables examined are previous victimization, political affiliation, race, gender, and education. Data for the study were collected from a sample of National Rifle Association members and university students. All sample members resided in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Results indicate that religious literalness has a direct effect on attitudes as does attribution. Further, the relationship between attribution and attitudes is moderated by religious salience. This study was conducted during the aftermath of the sniper shootings, and the impact that these events had on the study and the respondents are also discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006